When we think about focus, authenticity, consistency and perseverance – all key ingredients to success, we can’t help but think about these individuals whom we have sourced inspirational words from. As the popular saying goes, “you can’t be what you don’t see” and so we hope you get something truly impactful from this list of some of our fashion favs.
1. Shiona Turini: Freelance Fashion Editor, Stylist, and Creative Consultant
I had to not be afraid to ask other women in similar situations for advice. Everyone is in their own lane, and there’s space for all of us. So I never felt like, ‘This person is my competition and I can’t ask them.” I think that’s where a lot of people screw themselves over, because they’re scared to have open conversations with their friends that work in the industry.
2. Edward Enninful: Editor-in-chief, British Vogue magazine
That I did work that was honest. That I did work that was true to myself. I did work that maybe spoke about society in its little way — that had meaning more than anything.
3. Lisa Folawiyo: Founder & Creative Director, Lisa Folawiyo & Jewel by Lisa
When you know your vision is not seen through, when there is so much to achieve, when inspiration catches you unawares sometimes, when you know those that rely on the success of the business, when you know what gives you an adrenalin rush more than many other things, how do you stop? You can’t. My passion drives me. My team and my staff drive me. The need to continue to influence fashion drives me. My dreams drive me. Fashion is a commitment! You are either in or out. That’s the (sometimes) painful truth.
4. Kahlana Barfield: Editor, InStyle Magazine
It was nothing but faith!There might be someone smarter in the room, but you can always outwork them. Always.I would definitely say take yourself out of [a familiar] environment and put yourself in maybe an uncomfortable position because that’s when you learn the most.
5. Mathew Henson: Stylist & Fashion Entrepreneur
It pays to make sure everything you do is your best work. You never know who you are going to meet, what doors could be opened, or what opportunity awaits you.
6.Omoyemi Akerele: Creative & Managing Director, Style House Files
Understanding that some of the most important things in life are purpose and passion driven, combined with a deeper need to make a difference beyond myself and make an impact.
7. Loza Maleombho : Founder, Loza Maleombho
Do what you can, with what you have, where you are. I think that’s applicable to everyone. It’s calling on creativity: use what you have at hand and create something.
8. Duro Olowu: Founder, Duro Olowu
I don’t follow trends, I am inspired by the world.
9. Selly Raby Kane: Founder, Selly Raby Kane
Collaboration is key, sharing is key, we see it in everything even in business models that we have, and the more successful are basing it on this idea of collaboration.
10. Ozwald Boateng: Founder, Ozwald Boateng
Put the structure back in, if you create something unique, own the uniqueness
11. Reni Folawiyo: CHIEF EXECUTIVE & FOUNDER, ALARA
It’s okay to have really big and ambitious dreams that no one around you might understand.
12. Carly Cushine: Fashion Designer for Cushnie et Ochs
Define your aesthetic then live and breathe it.Don’t settle for something you don’t want to do, otherwise you’ll end up being stuck in it, probably for the rest of your life. Once you head down a path, it’s hard to backtrack, and it takes a lot of courage to jump tracks.
13. Armando Carbal:Founder, Armando Carbal Fashion Label
When creating a shoe I always ask myself the question “If I were a client, would I buy this shoe?”. I’ve owned many pairs of shoes in my life, and I’ve worn many of them on the runway. What I’ve come to realise is that beauty sometimes compromises comfort. So beauty is definitely part of our shoes, but what makes you love it, is how you feel in it.’
14. Dexter & Byron Peart: CO-FOUNDERS, WANT LES ESSENTIELS
That struggle period showed us that while we had the sales and marketing right because of our background with the agency, we had less experience on the production side of things. Looking back, we should have focused on our own region first before looking at the whole world.
15. Agape Mdumula: Half of fashion brand Agi & Sam
If we’re going to work for free, we may as well work for ourselves.
16. Adenike Ogunlesi: Founder & CRO, Ruff’n’Tumble
I have learnt that if you face your challenges with positive energy, you are most likely to get better results.”
17. Lanre Da Silvia Ajayi: Founder , Lanre Da Silvia Ajayi Fashion Label
Running a fashion business means working late with the tailors at 2 am when most people are asleep, steaming clothes over and over again. On top of all that, I had to worry about making enough money to declare some kind of dividend from the business for all my hard work. I had to eat, live and breathe my business 24/7.
18. Amel Monsur: Chief Creative Officer, Sunshine
You’re only as good as the people around you and the people you choose to empower.
19. Darlene and Lizzy Okpo: Design duo behind William Okpo Fashion Label
It’s good to begin a business when you have nothing because then you can only go up.Using every resource that you have, and not necessarily money. Giving it everything.Building relationships. We almost didn’t make it last season, but people have taken chances on us because of believing in us.
20. David Tlale: Founder and Designer, David Tlale Fashion Label
Fashion is not for the faint-hearted and it is not an overnight success.
21. Folake Coker: Founder ,Tiffany Amber
It was constant dedication to building the brand. As an entrepreneur, I don’t see obstacles. The constant drive is to make a success of the business side of it.
22. Deola Sagoe: Founder, House of Deola
Being a Nigerian was no limitation for me because I just thought, well you haven’t seen me and there’s loads more like me.”
23. Amaka Osakwe: Founder, Maki Oh
In my collection, I included one saying, “No condition is permanent,” hand-stitched into the clothing. Everyone in Nigeria believes that if you are poor today, this is not permanent. Tomorrow, you’ll be a millionaire. Everyone is so hopeful.
24. Trevor Stuurman: Photographer, Creative Director & Stylist
As Africans our greatest wealth is not to be found in our mineral wealth but in our selves. Our culture, our way of life. In our greatest understanding of self. My purpose is to share that with the world.”
25. Adama Ndiaye: Founder, Adama Paris
Real love is rare, real support is rare, real is rare, so to all my African queens out there, own your realness, dare to be you, embrace your difference”
26. Aisha Ayensu: CEO & Creative Director, Christie Brown
Do you love it enough to want to plug through the hard times? Are you willing to persevere? What is the message you want to put across? Tell it the best way possible! Be patient, be grounded, know your craft – the success will come
27. Sam Lamberts and Shaka Maidoh: Founders, Art Comes First
That’s why collaboration is such a beautiful thing, because people see things from different points of view and combine it to create something new and innovative.
28. Vanessa Kingori: Publishing Director, British Vogue
You spend more time at work than you do with your loved ones. Those relationships are as important to me as my family. It’s also a more fulfilling way to work to stay in touch with people, to see how they grow and change over the years can inspire. My networks and connections have given me lots of confidence and lots of direct opportunities.”
29. Hazel Aggrey Orleans: Founder & Designer, Eki-Orleans Fashion Label
Drive and determination is essential. You will encounter many hurdles but the key is dust yourself off, learn from your mistakes and try again. Also, remember you don’t need to see the whole staircase, just take one step at a time.”
30. Maxwell Osborne: Co Founder, Public School NYC
I think having your point of view and sticking to your guns is the biggest thing ever. I think being young you got to take that and use that energy and that ambition and go forward with it.
31. Ezinne Alfa: Beauty Entrepreneur & Content Creator, Beauty in Lagos
One thing my journey has taught me is, it’s not about me, it’s about purpose, and purpose involves service.
32. Noble Igwe: Fashion Entrepreneur & Content Creator, Style Vitae
Don’t feel disappointed when the people you have known the longest don’t support you, appreciate the new supporters in your life.”
33. Mai Atafo: Bespoke Fashion Designer, Mai Atafo Inspired
Decisions made with the heart are made out of love and love is the one thing that drives everything in life.”
34. Adebayo Oke Lawal: Founder & Creative Director, Orange Culture
No one has the right to tell you how far you can go or will go in life. No matter where you start, keep pushing and believing. You can do anything.
35. Joy Kendi: Fashion, beauty & Lifestyle Content Creator,
Work hard now, so you can relax later . Your 20s are not for chilling, work yourself to the core now, where soon enough your name will make money on its own.
36. Claire Sulmers: Founder & Editor in Chief, Fashion Bomb Daily
Don’t be too sensitive. Develop thick skin. Don’t take anything personally.”
37. Ituen Basi: Founder, Ituen Basi Fashion Label
Work with somebody who knows a little bit more than you in the industry. By so doing we can start emulating our competitor outside the country.”
38. Dumebi Iyamah : Founder, Andrea Iyamah
Patience and consistency is key. Taking things slowly and learning gradually from the people you are most inspired by will help you grow yourself and your brand.
39. June Ambrose: Celebrity Stylist
Creativity is about communication and creating a conversation.”
40. Sissi Johnson: Fashion Brand Strategist , SissiJohnson.com
Everything today is about content and consistency. If you are not creating content, no one would know you exist.
41. Andre Leon Talley: Contributing Editor, Vogue
It’s incorrect to assume you can be a fashion editor because you blog, if you don’t have experience to look at fashion in a professional way.
42. Joke Ladoja: Creative Director, Grey
I am learning again that a truly creative life cannot be maintained by the esteem of others nor can it be ruined by criticism, no matter how harsh. At the heart of it, life is a continuum of people who have succeeded and failed and either end of the spectrum is not the end.
43. Kenneth Ize: Founder, Kenneth Ize Fashion Label
For me to be here today gives me the positive feeling that you can keep doing what you actually really want to do, exhibit it abroad and let people actually see what you can do.
44. Irene Agbontaen : Model & Founder, TTYA London
What’s most important for me is the everyday woman, the woman who gets up is on her way to work who just needs a long-sleeved top or a shirt or some jeans that are not gonna be ankle swingers, those are the customers I really live for.
45. Lakin Ogunbanwo: Photographer
I think most people that revolutionise you know art in their little community I don’t think they set out to do it. They just did what they had to for themselves and their art.
46. Yoanna “Pepper” Chikezie: Creative Consultant & Founder, The Assembly Hub
Your network is your network and do the right things consistently. I believe these is the key to success.
47. Joshua Kissi: Co-founder, TONL and Street Etiquette
Appreciate the moment more and don’t spend too much time thinking about the future it takes away from your present
48. Kelechi Amadi-Obi: Photographer
To me, the most important thing is self actualisation and realisation. To know why you are here on earth you need to go deep into yourself and ask ,”Who am I and what am I supposed to be doing?
49. Bubu Ogisi: Creative Consultant & Founder, I AM ISIGO
It’s not as easy as everyone thinks it is because there’s a lot of work to be put into it especially in Fashion. As with Nigeria having that saturated and highly competitive industry, it’s not as easy as most people think it is. So coming into it for fame would be the worst thing to do.
50. Honeyy Ogundeyi: Founder, Fashpa
The best thing is doing something that you love, your passion and seeing something grow from an idea to something much bigger.
51. Virgil Abloh: Creative Director, Menswear,Louis Vuitton
I distinctly feel like this generation,our generation is the first one that can unveil the mask, give the kids the tools, let them create and have a better existence afterwards.